SIMON Walton has urged his Hartlepool United team-mates not to become too reliant on teenage striker Luke James.
The 18-year-old has been in a rich vein of form in recent weeks and bagged his seventh goal of the campaign in the 3-1 win over AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
That was Pools’ fifth consecutive win in all competitions and saw James score his third goal in three matches after he managed to beat the flat-footed Dons defender Alan Bennett to send a looping header over keeper Ross Worner to restore Pools’ lead.
But Walton, who opened the scoring with a first-half penalty, said it is important that other players continue to chip in with goals.
The 26-year-old, who praised James’ ability to make the most of half chances, said: “Luke has done it a couple of times now, he did it on Saturday against Plymouth and again put his head in the other night and got us a goal.
“But I’ve said in the dressing
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room that we can’t be too reliant on a young lad.
“He will keep going and is clever enough and works hard enough to stick in there but we have to help him out and keep going, as we have done.”
Walton’s penalty to open the scoring against The Dons was his first goal of the season and second for Pools since joining the club in the summer for 2012.
He has been in a good run of form himself over the past five matches and was pleased to see his midfield partner Matty Dolan, on-loan from Middlesbrough, join him on the scoresheet against Wimbledon with his first for the club.
Walton, who said their partnership is starting to blossom, added: “There has been a few partnerships in the middle so far this season and whoever has played has done well.
“We have got young exciting players in Matty, Brad Walker and Jack Baldwin, who can step in, and whoever has played has done a good job.
“But I’m enjoying it and it seems to be working well at the minute.
“Mind, I said to Matty I’m not sure there will be too many games with us both as scorers this season but if we can chip in now and again that will be nice.”